Showing posts from October, 2021

Peace At Last

We don’t know much about him. We don’t even know his name. The wife of his dentist called me while I was standing in line with a youth group at Knotts Berry Farm. “I have the skull of a Holocaust survivor and would like to give it a proper burial.” I wasn’t sure whether to call the mortuary, a more qualified rabbi, the media or police! After more investigation, here is the story: Dr. Frei was a gentile dentist in New Jersey. One day, in the early 1950’s, an old man in poor health showed up at his office for dental work. Dr. Frei noticed the numbers on his arm and his heavy European accent. He was a Jewish holocaust survivor. This poor fellow didn’t have money to pay for the services rendered, but Dr. Frei told him not to worry about it. The poor man gratefully said, “Someday, I am going to pay you back.” Not too much time had passed, and a box showed up at Dr. Frei’s practice. This poor fellow had gone against Jewish tradition, and donated his body to science. Since Dr. Frei was a dent

Jews Of No Religion - Ahavas Yisroel

A local friend sent me a WSJ   article   he found enlightening, entitled, “Chabad Ministers to Jews of no Religion”. I highly suggest you  read it. One of the most ironic things that the article doesn’t address, is how the least religious demographics within the Jewish people are engaging with the most “orthodox” group. Interesting, isn’t it? I think the reason is related to another question I have about one of the Rebbe’s 10 mitzvah campaigns. Most of the campaigns are easily actionable mitzvahs. For men to put on tefillin, and for women to light candles on Friday night are clear-cut campaigns, and are easily measurable. Just count how many men put on Tefilllin, and how many women lit Shabbos candles. The campaign “To love your fellow Jew”, which is one of the 613 commandments, is important, but how do you do it? How can you measure it? I’ve thought long and hard about this, and may have come up with the answer which might already be obvious to you. Loving your fellow is not measurab

My Mother's Simchas Torah Story

Simchas Torah is a very special holiday for me as you’ll see in the story.  Here is the story my mother wrote a couple months before she passed away: A nine-year-old boy in San Diego was walking home from shul on Shemini Atzeret eve. "Abba," he asked, with all sincerity, "could we bring the Torah home on Simchat Torah?" "No son, the Torah stays in shul, except perhaps for hakafot (circling dance) around the shul," he replied factually. "No one can take the Torah home." The boy broke into uncontrolled sobs, while Abba tried to understand how he felt. After a few minutes, the son confided that he wanted his Ima (Mom), who was home in bed with cancer, to kiss the Torah on the holiday. Abba (Dad) knew his tears. Yes, it's a true story. My name is Chana Abrams and I am challenged with a recurrence of breast cancer. But there's more to the story. Although I am Torah-observant, my holidays lately have not been filled with synagogue prayers and p